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Halloween Competes With Xmas

According to national surveys in the US and UK, Halloween is now the second most popular family occasion and house decorating occasion of the year. It's right behind Christmas...beating even Easter, bonfire night and most surprisingly birthdays.
Parents in the UK will be spending more than £100 on halloween parties for their children this year. In the USA, "Halloween spending is expected to grow to 5 billion this year. … That's up from about 3.3 billion last year," said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation.

The average Halloween consumer will spend roughly $60 this year, as compared to $48 last year.

 

In days of old, the sight of houses covered in over-the-top light decorations, miles of yard displays and extravagant spending on treats and sweets meant only one thing:  Christmas was near, but...not anymore.  Now, the celebration begins two months earlier, in October, for Halloween.

In the USA, 69% of those surveyed will celebrate Halloween this year. Nearly half will decorate their homes and or yard, and each will spend an average of $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy. That figure is second only to what people spend on Christmas decorations.

 

WHY IS HALLOWEEN GROWING IN POPULARITY?

For Value Village and costume stores, it's the busiest month of the year. Why the growing popularity? Because on Mother's Day, you're giving gifts away. On Christmas, you're giving gifts away. On Halloween, you're giving gifts to yourself!

The Ghoulish Trend reveals that major retailers are putting out their Halloween-related merchandise earlier than ever. Wal-Mart rolled out its Halloween section, "Spooky Central," l in mid-August! Over Labor Day weekend, Target displayed its "Harvest Hollow," "Maple Manor" and "Creepy Cottage" collections, among others. Even home-improvement retailers like Home Depot are adding Halloween decorations to its stores for the first time this year.

SPIRIT POSSESSION?

Halloween is no longer just about costumes and candy. Halloween is known as a time of witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. Some see it as harmless trick-or-treating and costume-party-time while for others, it's a ghastly and demonically inspired night to be avoided.

The word "Halloween" comes from the term "All Hallows Eve" which occurred on Oct. 31, the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. "All Saints Day," or "All Hallows Day" was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

Halloween can be traced back two thousand years to ancient Ireland and Scotland. On Oct. 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare for winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of season was marked by a festival called Samhain and means 'end of summer.'

It was a commonly held superstition that wandering spirits of "the dead" were looking for bodies to inhabit at that time of year. Since the living didn't want to be "possessed by spirits", they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to scare the spirits away.

The new year began for the Celts on Nov. 1 which was a day that was neither part of the past year nor part of the new year. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day.

Around the 5th century, the Catholic Church changed the Samhain celebration to "All Hallows Eve" which honored all the saints of the Catholic church. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. The dead were believed to be in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell...so they needed prayers from the living to influence the outcome.

JACK AND JACK-O-LANTERN

The Jack-O-Lantern comes from Irish folklore about a man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack not to allow Jack into hell after Jack died if only Jack would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he couldn't go to hell, and he couldn't go to heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer.

When the Irish came to America in the 1800's, they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.

THE BIBLE AND HALLOWEEN

Halloween is really a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals superstition and early Catholic traditions.What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing. But it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism.

 

Exodus 22:18, You shall not let a witch live.

 

Deut. 18:10-12, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…"

The Bible condemns occultic practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and are believed by Christians to open the door to demonic oppression.

Take a look at the Christmas tree.  It was originally an ancient pagan fertility symbol. Yet, it has become a representation of Christmas and the place where gifts are placed. Doesn't that make Chirstmas tree decorating an occultic practice for Christians just like halloween decorating?

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